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Unit information: MSc Core Skills in 2021/22

Unit name MSc Core Skills
Unit code BIOCM0001
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Burston
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Biochemistry
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The Unit consists of lecture-based teaching sessions, practical classes (which may be simulation or online activities) and tutorials that together prepare students for their MSc research project and provide a foundation for their studies. Students gain knowledge of basic and advanced experimental techniques.

Teaching sessions provide training in: various aspects of laboratory safety, including the preparation of risk assessments; the use of IT, including Microsoft Word and Microsoft Powerpoint, literature searching, reference management, genome analysis and bioinformatics, and statistics; research methods, including the methods used to study gene regulation, cell imaging techniques, and the production and uses of antibodies. These sessions are reinforced by tutorials that review the taught material and provide an opportunity for the discussion of selected relevant research papers. This helps the students to understand the process of planning a piece of research. The tutors act as points of contact for the students throughout their period of study.


  • To enhance students' knowledge and understanding of the planning, acquisition and analysis of experimental data.
  • To provide training in a range of key research skills.
  • To provide experience in the use of computer skills including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation packages.
  • To foster individual and team-working, demonstrating organisation, decision-making and time management.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Unit the students should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of basic laboratory skills, demonstrating organisation, decision-making and time management,
  • use a range of IT packages to acquire and analyse data,
  • demonstrate understanding of a variety of standard research methods and their applications.
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the process of planning a piece of research.

Teaching Information

Lectures, tutorials, laboratory-based practical classes and/or simulation and online activities and home-based e-learning.

Assessment Information

80% examination, 20% coursework


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BIOCM0001).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.